A pastor who took unruly measures to discipline female church members by spanking them on their bums, has been handed a “6 years” sentence.
Howard Curtis, the pastor who used the Bible to justify spanking female members of his congregation on their bare bottoms for his own pleasure has been jailed for six years.
According to Mirror Online, Curtis, 73, ran a “cult” at the Coulsdon Christian Fellowship administering ‘spiritual discipline’ to strip n*ked victims claiming it would cure depression and boost their s*x lives.
The married former minister at the church in Coulsdon, south London, claimed to use his “unorthodox” teachings to drive out evil spirits and even spanked a woman’s genitalia.
He was today jailed for six years at Croydon Crown Court after being convicted of six counts of s*xual assault and two of child cruelty.
Judge Peter Gower QC said: “These are serious offences involving a gross abuse of trust that was bestowed on you in your position in the church. Immediate custody is inevitable.”
One victim was a woman who suffered from depression and she initially refused his methods.
The judge said: “She regarded you and loved you as a father, someone who took her in and helped her. It’s in that background you exploited her vulnerability.
“Having been convinced by you she need to be disciplined for some past disobedience… And in hope it might lift the depression which she was still suffering.
“She described your interpretation of the Bible as bizarre and weird. You got [her] to take down her trousers and pants and lie forward onto the stairs and then beat her repeatedly with the palm of your hand.
“She said you did it 20-30 times with full force, causing her to become upset and bruising her badly. You convinced her into thinking what you were doing was in her best interest and it was in a spiritual basis.
“In practice it was sexual abuse performed for your own gratification.”
Another victim he repeatedly spanked, claiming it was “Christian Domestic Discipline”, to punish her for what he perceived was a lack of femininity and also to apparently improve her s*x life.
Judge Gower said: “You put forward different reasons for doing what you did which included the untidiness of her flat, her own untidiness, and her lack of femininity.”
The “bullying and controlling” minister spanked the woman, who was at times completely n*ked, on up to 20 different occasions and she described the practise as sending her into a “trance-like state”.
The judge said Curtis smacked the woman’s private parts telling her “it would release a frigid spirit from inside her.
“The final occasion to which you disciplined her was on the first of July, 2013. On that occasion you beat her harder than you had done before and carried on after she told you to stop, reducing her to tears.
“You had practised her to believe what she was agreeing to was some form of spiritual act but it wasn’t to help. It was sexual abuse for your own gratification.”
Hard-of-hearing Curtis wore a headset, which hissed loudly throughout the proceedings, over his balding, grey hair so he could follow his sentencing.
The father-of-three, who wore glasses and a black suit, was supported by his wife and daughter in the public gallery.
He blew wife Marilyn a kiss and touched his hand against the glass matching hers on the other side of the dock as he struggled to walk to the cells.
Women came to Curtis for help from backgrounds of domestic violence, financial hardship, depression and s*xual abuse.
But Curtis, who ran the church with wife Marilyn, would spank them for his own pleasure in what he called “deliverance ministries”.
He also spanked two churchgoers’ children, bruising one of them, for which he was found guilty of child cruelty.
Judge Gower also described how Curtis turned a child “black and blue” after smacking him in an attempt to stop him crying without the mum’s consent.
The judge said: “It wasn’t until later when the mother went to change his nappy when she saw red marks under that nappy that turned into black and blue bruises over the next days.”